Published on March 24th, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan35
BMW i3 To Have Bells & Whistles, But That’s Not The Big Story (imho)
The BMW i3 is set to roll out this year, which I think has many of us EV lovers a little giddy. BMW’s i series looks hot, different, sharp. It looks like it was made to fit with an era of iPhones and iPads.
AOL’s AutoblogGreen recently got to chat with the head of product development for BMW, Board Member Herbert Diess. Most of what AutoBlog found out was not that surprising at all — in many ways, BMW seems to be following Tesla’s lead, and the lead of other major auto companies entering the electric car space. Lots of cool stats you can track on your phone, for example. And, similar to what Tesla has done, there will be special dealers focused on really helping the buyer learn more about the new tech — and even home-based test drives! The renewable energy option for some drivers that we’ve covered previously was also mentioned.
However, one line stood out to me.
Here it is: “The first feedback from the Mini E confirmed our way of equipping the car with a commuting range,” Diess said. “Most people would start with the car charged and, during the day, travel 40-50 kilometers [25-31 miles] and then, after a while they would stop charging it every day and only charge it every second day. We found that the overwhelming majority of our customers were very happy with the range, with some exceptions where it was not the right car for their circumstances.”
This, I’m pretty sure, is the same across the electric car space. Drivers think right off the bat that they need to charge their car daily, then they realize they don’t. I believe I’ve read the same thing about Nissan Leaf owners.
The reason it stood out to me and I think it’s important is because of the total overhype regarding EV range. The somewhat manufactured “range anxiety” issue has people thinking they’d need to charge more than they actually would, and that it’s more difficult to own an EV than it actually is… but then they buy a car (well, some of them do), and they find out that charging every other day or so is completely adequate. The range issue really isn’t an issue. (In fact, charging an EV is much more convenient than filling up a gas-powered car.)
Needless to say, I think this point needs to get out there more. More people need to realize that keeping the car charged is not an issue.
“The outcome really pleases us. We have been driving the car for a couple months and are relatively close to series production and it’s just great fun. If I can drive one of the prototypes, it is my first choice for city driving. It has a relatively high seating position, it is smooth, the accelerator pedal is very proportional and spontaneous. It’s 0-60 below eight seconds. It has very low turning radius, so you can move very fast. It’s just fun. That is why we have a very good chance to make a success out of it because it’s not only a sustainable product and very environmentally friendly, it’s also an emotional product.”